Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Engineering Science


Electrical and Computer Engineering


Professor Jayshri Sabarinathan


An extremely small ($6.5\times6.5\mu$m) optomechanical sensor is proposed that utilizes a photonic crystal (PC) etched onto silicon-on-insulator (SOI) using adapted complimentary metal-oxide-semiconductor fabrication technology. The destructive interference of light with the periodic structure can forbid its propagation inside the crystal across a range of frequencies and can be used to confine light near edge of a PC slab. By placing two PC edges near each other, a directional coupler is formed where light is periodically exchanged between the two waveguides. Wet-etching away the buried oxide residing beneath the photonic crystal directional coupler (PCDC), a membrane is formed. Exerting force on the PCDC alters the separation between the two PC edges and modulates the observed transmission at the coupler outputs. Buckle-mitigating structures are also demonstrated here which relieve the unpredictable compressive stress built into the top silicon layer of SOI during wafer fabrication.

The PCDC sensors attempt to overcome some of the shortcomings of existing micromechanical sensors such as area constraints, material restrictions, stiction, and EM interference. PCDC sensors are also highly parallelizable due to their small size and wide optical bandwidth. PCDC sensors are envisaged to be used in microfluidic integration and are capable of 149kPa full scale pressure measurement ranges.